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Gatorade Athlete Of The Month

Each month, one male and female League1 Ontario athlete will be selected as the Gatorade Athlete(s) of the Month!

The selected players will have matched their on-field performance, which includes goals scored or shutouts, and minutes played, with off-field attributes that champion leadership, community values and more.

Those selected will earn exclusive prizing from Gatorade Canada, the official sports fuel of League1 Ontario.

To collect their prizing, award-winners should come to League1 Ontario office (during weekday business hours) at:

Ontario Soccer Centre, 7601 Martin Grove Rd., Vaughan, ON. 

With the women's division having concluded at the end of the August, League1 Ontario will name male Gatorade Player of The Month(s) for September and October.

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for October:

Men's - Kadell Thomas (Sigma FC) 

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for September: 

Men's - Dylan Sacramento (Vaughan Azzurri)

A regular in League1 Ontario All-Star lists over the past few seasons, high-flying forward Kadell Thomas certainly didn't take his foot off the gas in the new 2018 playoff format.

Thomas played every minute of Sigma's three matches in the Group B group stage, snagging a goal against Woodbridge in their opener, two against Unionville, and one in the Mississauga academy's final match-up with Oakville Blue Devils. 

Thomas clearly had a point to prove in front of Canadian Premier League (CPL) scouts watching the high-profile League1 playoffs, and you can hear him essentially state his intentions in this video feature that was released just ahead of the playoffs.

Thomas' breathless pace, agility, creativity and control in tight areas has been a hallmark of the Sigma team for several seasons, and he would be a great pick-up for the next level of competition when CPL hits the pitch in 2019. 

Will Thomas follow head coach Bobby Smyrniotis to his new position in Hamilton at Forge FC? Only time will tell... 

Congratulations Kadell Thomas on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for October!

The name Dylan Sacramento was on everyone's lips that watched Vaughan Azzurri dominate the group stage section of the new and revised 2018 playoff format and, ultimately, guide his side to the 2018 League1 Ontario Championship title.

His game-winning goal in the Championship match was hardly a surprise to anyone that has tracked the central midfielder's play; Sacramento has a habit of scoring big goals. [Ed. Sacramento also scored the first ever League1 Ontario goal, way back in 2014]

However, what was perhaps most impressive was the work Sacramento did to help Vaughan back from an awful beginning to their 2018 campaign. Getting only two wins in their first five matches, Vaughan stampeded through the rest of the season, losing only twice and drawing one match from June 10 - October 20.  

The former TFC Academy and NCAA Florida Gulf Coast star was in red-hot form through this period, and his month of September in particular was off the charts. 

Nine goals in five games was the cherry on the top of Sacramento's overall 2018 record of fourteen goals in fourteen regular season appearances. 

Check out what Sacramento's head coach, Carmine Isacco, had to say about the player, and keep an eye out for his name when CPL rosters begin to roll out in the near future! 

Congratulations Dylan Sacramento on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for September!

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete(s) of the Month for August: 

Men's - Anthony Novak (Oakville Blue Devils)

Women's - Jade Kovacevic (FC London)

Although all is yet to be decided in the 2018 League1 men's division, Oakville Blue Devils have to date defended their 2017 League1 Ontario crown with a strong 2018 league performance - one that was well-balanced with their historic involvement in the 2018 Canadian Championship - currently holding one of the top two best defensive records in the league (nine goals conceded in 15 matches) and the third highest scoring output (37 goals scored in 15 matches). 

Far and away the top scorer in the Oakville Blue Devils' ranks is forward Anthony Novak, whose consistent scoring exploits have led him to lead the league Golden Boot chart with just a few matches remaining in the calendar. 

Novak's consistency in front of net has been evident over his years as a Blue Devil (the forward has been a fixture in starting lineups since Oakville joined the league in 2015), and none more so than in August 2018. Novak scored eight goals in four games to bring his tally to 18 on the season - six clear at the top of the chart with the nearest competitor six goals behind.

Oakville head into their final league match with Darby FC looking to secure a minimum of fourth place positioning in the table, and subsequent home pitch advantage in the playoffs.

In any case, if Novak is to hang on to win the Golden Boot, Oakville will become the first men's team to make history in the category - the team will have produced two league leading scorers (joint-Golden Boot winner Filipe Vilela in 2015 and Novak in 2018).

Congratulations Anthony Novak on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for August!

The name Jade Kovacevic will be familiar to any follower of League1, with the FC London forward having dominated headlines and awards since her club joined the league in 2016.

Kovacevic has been selected as League1 women's MVP for two years running, has been in every All-Star team, and led the league in scoring for both seasons. She can now add a third scoring title to her long list of achievements...

Kovacevic sustained a bad injury in mid-June and was out of competition for a month and a half, returning at the start of August. She wasted no time resuming her red-hot goal scoring form, scoring six in just four August matches. 

In all, Kovacevic registered 19 goals in just 11 matches in 2018, which was good for a rate of 1.7 GPG - second only to her 2.0 GPG strike rate in 2017 when she finished 40 times in 20 appearances, and ahead of her 2016 output of 26 goals in 16 games (1.6 GPG). 

In fact, Kovacevic's all-time total of 85 goals in league matches makes her the League1 Ontario all-time league leading scorer in either men's or women's divisions!

Congratulations Jade Kovacevic on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for August!

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete(s) of the Month for July: 

Men's - Connor Wilson (FC London)

Women's - Mahira Ali (Oakville Blue Devils) 

FC London has had an outstanding season to date, currently sitting in third position with a record of 8-2-2, and many of their top attacking highlights have arrived off the boot of top scorer, Connor Wilson. 

Wilson scored an average of a goal a game in the month of July, taking himself to the top of the Golden Boot rankings for some time (at time of press, Wilson is on ten goals - only one off top position in the Golden Boot race).

Wilson's regular scoring habits (one in three matches in May, four in three matches in June, one in two matches thus far in August) have provided a sharp end to the stick for London, allowing the Southern Ontario side to maintain their strong possession game with the assurance that a goal will be found. 

A converted midfielder, Wilson broke into the London first team in 2017, and personifies the club's commitment to homegrown products. 

He's also begun his post-secondary playing years at Western University in fine form, selected OUA Rookie of the Year (West) in 2017.

Congratulations Connor Wilson on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for July!

The Oakville Blue Devils' women's team went right to the wire in the 2018 playoff race - a great achievement in the team's first season - and much of attacking clout was due to their Egyptian talisman, Mahira Ali.

A former captain of the U19 Egypt team, and capped several times at senior level as well for her country, Ali is on holiday in Canada for the year and stumbled upon the Blue Devils through a connection with one of the team's centre-backs, Rana Hamdy.

The rest has been history, with Ali leading the team in scoring with 16 goals in only 643 minutes - good for a goal every half of play! Ali is the runner-up in the 2018 Golden Boot rankings. 

Oakville won every match that Ali appeared in, except for the final league fixture against Woodbridge Strikers, although Ali even found a way to score in that 5-3 loss. 

Learn more about Ali's story here - in the League1 Extra video magazine.

Congratulations Mahira Ali on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for July!

  

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete(s) of the Month for June: 

Men's - Afram Gorgees (Toronto FC III)

Women's - Diamond Simpson (Woodbridge Strikers) 

A marauding right back for the Junior Reds, Afram Gorgees is also remarkably the top scorer for TFC III and a major reason why the team has been top of the table since the start of the 2018 season. 

Gorgees scored five goals in TFC III's three league games in June, along with one goal in the team's single Cup game in June (June 23 v Pro Stars).

This scoring record has also put Gorgees in a three-way tie for second in the League1 Golden Boot race.

He's been doing the business at the defensive end too of course, allowing only five goals in seven matches over the season, and only one goal in league play in June and none in Cup play over the month. 

Born in Iraq, Gorgees has played for Canada at the U15 and U17 levels and is a player to watch on the national scene for the future. 

Congratulations Afram Gorgees on being selected the Gatorade Athlete of the Month for June!

Woodbridge Strikers' defender Diamond Simpson is one of the many weapons in a Woodbridge side that is stacked with talent. 

Simpson's highlight reel June moment was in the game winner vs Aurora on June 10, with a solo run from half to beat a defender before unleashing a laser into the top corner from 30+ yards. That strike will certainly be in contention for goal of the season.

A 90 minute player with the Strikers in June league and Cup play, Simpson has also had a important role in making sure the Strikers are joint-first in League1 for goals against and one of only two undefeated teams undefeated in league play.

The Strikers are also currently tied for fourth place, but have one to two games in hand on those they are tied with and all teams above (two points out of third position; three points out of second; ten points out of first).

Further, the Strikers also have the best goal differential in the L1 Cup competition, having been scored on only once in two matches and scoring seven, with a spot in the semi-finals against De Ro coming up on July 22.

Simpson has been a key figure in the team's success and if one glances at her player CV - you can see why. A member of the national program since she was U17, Simpson has represented Canada all over the world. 

Simpson broke into the Canadian Women's National Team in 2010, and has four senior caps to her name as well.

Congratulations Diamond Simpson on being selected Gatorade Athlete of the Month for June!

Congratulations to the Gatorade Athlete(s) of the Month for May: 

Men's - Marcel Zajac (Sigma FC)

Women's - Jade Kovacevic (FC London) 

Sigma FC's Marcel Zajac has been on a roll this season, scoring wonder goals for his club that have regularly been centre-pieces in the weekly highlights. 

But Zajac is far more than just a goalscorer. His movement off the ball, eye for a killer pass, and toolbox of skills make him an incredibly dangerous weapon for the Mississauga-based academy. 

Six goals in two league games, and two goals in one L1 Cup game, in May has been the obvious fruit of Zajac's labours, which has been enough to put him top of the scoring chart and help keep Sigma on an unbeaten run that has them within striking distance of first place. 

Congratulations Marcel Zajac on being selected Gatorade Athlete of the Month for May!

FC London's Jade Kovacevic needs no introduction for League1 Ontario followers. 

The captain of FC London - current league and L1 Cup holders - has been an unstoppable force for London over the past few seasons, appearing to shred opposing defences at will. 

Kovacevic picked up where she left off last season (when she won the League1 Golden Boot and the Women's Division MVP awards) by scoring a whopping 7 goals in just four games in May and guiding FC London back to the top of the table with an unbeaten start to 2018.

Her unflagging leadership, sportsmanship and goalscoring prowess makes for a worthy winner of this Gatorade Athlete of the Month award for May.

Congratulations Jade Kovacevic on being selected Gatorade Athlete of the Month for May!